On the Market: Unique Custom House in Malvern

Henry VIII, George III and Currier and Ives would all probably enjoy living in this one-of-a-kind house that takes cues from several eras of domestic architecture.

house for sale malvern modern medieval exterior front

8 Stillmeadow Lane, Malvern, Pa. 19355 | Bright MLS images via BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors

Every so often, I run across a house for sale that stops me in my tracks.

I found one of those this morning.

This very traditional yet very modern custom-built house perched on a hilltop in Willistown Township looks like no other house I’ve run across — a quirky and fascinating mélange of styles and references.

Custom Home magazine named this residence its House of the Year when it was built in 1992. I think a quick look around should show you why.

house for sale malvern modern medieval exterior rear

Rear elevation

So what style of house is this, anyway? Its front elevation suggests a converted barn, while its rear one recalls 19th-century foursquare farmhouses.

house for sale malvern modern medieval interior courtyard gate

Gate to interior courtyard

It has an interior courtyard that gives it a classic English feel.

But I can’t help but sense a whiff of the medieval in both that interior courtyard and its barrel-vaulted great room.

house for sale malvern modern medieval great room

Great room

True, the barrel vault is more Roman than Gothic, but it and the copious use of stone in its end walls give it a 15th-century touch. (The wall containing the fireplace makes use of materials recycled from a ruined barn, another way in which this house feels older than it is.)

But make no mistake: this is very much a 21st-century house.

house for sale malvern modern medieval dining room and bar

Dining room and bar

However, it eschews the open plan that’s so popular today. Yes, spaces still flow into one another, like the dining room and eat-in kitchen do, yet they’re still stylistically distinct and partly separated. Another of those pre-Colonial design features, the stone wall holding something that resembles the door to a small oven and a recessed bar with wine fridge, ties them together.

house for sale malvern modern medieval kitchen


The kitchen combines the classical and the rustic with its two distinct islands. The one in the foreground of this photo contains bar seating. This house’s current owner expanded it from a smaller space.

house for sale malvern modern medieval master bedroom

Master bedroom

The architects and interior designers who created this place also did all sorts of interesting things with interior volume. This house for sale contains lots of balconies and nooks, for instance: the main-floor master bedroom has a balcony overlook while three of the other four bedrooms have either sleeping lofts or balcony sitting rooms.

house for sale malvern modern medieval den


The converted-barn-style wing contains the fifth bedroom, an in-law suite, a spacious second-floor home office/workshop/studio space and a three-car garage on its lower level.

house for sale malvern modern medieval sunroom


Attached to one end of the farmhouse wing is a sunroom gazebo filled with windows. French doors at its far end point directly at the pool, spa and spectacular pool house beyond a sculpture in the middle of the path connecting the two.

house for sale malvern modern medieval pool and pool house

Pool and pool house

Put bluntly, few houses at any price have as much personality and character as this one does. Architect Peter Zimmerman, interior designer Vincent Durham Smith and builder Mark Davis richly deserve the honor Custom House bestowed upon them. The owner, who is also a designer, should get a shout-out too.


BEDS: 5, not counting in-law suite

BATHS: 4 full, 3 half

SQUARE FEET: 7,000 (approximate; figure comes from the house’s former owner and should be verified by buyer)

SALE PRICE: $4,395,000

OTHER STUFF: This house for sale includes a total of 10 acres of land in two separate but connected parcels. About five of those acres are subject to conservation easements, and the viewsheds from the house itself are also protected. The conservation easement does permit the construction of a four-stall barn at some future point should an owner decide to put this property to equestrian use.

8 Stillmeadow Lane, Malvern, Pa. 19355 [Robert Van Alen | BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors]

Updated Nov. 22, 7:53 a.m., to add information about the architect, builder and interior designer.